Nearly 45% of holiday shoppers peruse options serendipitously—both online and offline—to decide what to purchase for friends and family. Forty-eight percent of shoppers still frequent physical stores for the ability to easily see and touch products. If you are a brand manufacturer, if your products are not there—where they can be seen, touched, and clicked—you can be almost certain that you are losing sales and possibly customer loyalty.
So, what can you do?
Streamline product management to get to market faster
Having a central product information management system makes it easy to bring products to market quickly. Your central store of product information can be the home base for the product story, along with all the details and imagery, tagged and categorized according to its place in the assortment. Product and marketing managers can have a single source of the truth and don’t have to waste time compiling information—that may be inaccurate or inconsistent—from disparate sources. They simply share information and export what they need—to every channel where it is needed.
When you have a product information management (PIM) solution, taking a product to market can takes days or weeks instead of months. Your new products can be on the shelf in-store or live on a website and ready to order in hours—and you can scale volume based on demand.
Help customers make purchase decisions
Sometimes it feels like a “race to the bottom.” Your retailers are asking you to lower your prices because they are feeling squeezed by Amazon, online competitors, and other retailers in their quest for market share.
However, you can work with your retailers to help your customers make purchasing decisions. When you have high-quality product information categorized and tagged, it’s easy to show customers how to combine complementary products, select replacement products, or compare products across price points.
You gain a competitive advantage and increase revenue because you and your retailers are providing product information that guides the customer toward the ideal, comprehensive solution.
Build a reputation for reliability
It is common knowledge that keeping a customer is cheaper than acquiring a new one. So, while your sales team is busy getting new business, you can use your product marketing process to ensure that you satisfy the customers you already have.
If the product information that you have provided to your retailers is accurate and complete, your end-customers will know that they can trust that information when they are making purchase decisions—time and again. You will build a reputation for authority and knowledge by providing enriched product stories across channels and markets.
When you have a central source of enriched product information, you have a goldmine of unique and flexible content that’s easy to optimize into product stories for each channel and market. You will rise above the industry standard to achieve a competitive advantage that will serve you well and build brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Marketing Manager, inRiver
We have mentioned several times in these pages that more than three-quarters of shoppers conduct online research before making a big purchase and one-third search on common search engines to start product searches. In the B2B space, 71% of B2B buyers start their research with a generic search.
Why are these statistics so important?
Today, we are emphasizing these data because if your product has not yet been launched, it certainly cannot yet be found!
Bringing products to market rapidly is a Competitive Advantage.
If your products are on store shelves or in online webshops ahead of your competitors, you have a leg up on the competition. And deploying the right Product Information Management (PIM) tool can increase your speed to market—from weeks or months to just a few hours or days. Your products can be found and purchased faster with PIM.
Let me explain.
inRiver Provides a Central Source of Product Information
When you are juggling large product assortments and multiple channels across disparate geographies, you may be gleaning information from a plethora of sources—supplier portals, ERP systems, documents, spreadsheets, and image files that are spread across disparate teams. This means it can often take hours, days, or even weeks to compile all the product information you will need for a launch. Even then, you may still end up with product information that is inaccurate, incomplete, or inconsistent.
With inRiver, you instead will have a central repository of product information, one that pulls data from your backend systems and your suppliers, one that enables a transparent, orderly enrichment process, and one that is a single source of truth. With inRiver, you have a solution that saves a lot of time, so that you can focus on marketing activities, promotional campaigns, and delivering a better customer experience.
For nearly 100 years, New England residents have relied upon Jordan’s Furniture for the largest selection of brand-name furniture and mattresses. Although Jordan’s Furniture had a user-friendly website, they were trying to utilize their existing eCommerce and CMS platforms to store product information.
“We were searching for a product information management (PIM) solution that would integrate with our current web solution. We needed a flexible solution that could become the focal point for all product information.”
inRiver PIM allows the Jordan’s team to manage products better and faster. They can now pull the basic product information from the host ERP system, enrich it, and prepare it to be channel-ready. “When we compare the way we made changes in the past to how we do it today, we are more than 30% faster. An unexpected benefit has been providing our customers with really great information, telling them everything we know about our products. To this day, inRiver PIM provides great value and ROI.”
inRiver Enables more efficient Marketing Processes
When you deploy inRiver, you are also deploying a powerful workflow automation tool to help you manage your product launches. This tool ensures that product information is updated, complete, and approved. Alerts and dashboards tell you when imagery or descriptions are missing and what product information needs attention.
When you empower teams to work in parallel, people don’t have to wait for colleagues to do their part before taking action. The result? Greater speed to market for products, more effective marketing, and ultimately more sales for less effort.
At Sacha, all teams can manage and enrich product information in one place, which means launch processes now take place simultaneously. Teams can also automatically export and enrich information in the correct format for each channel, and everyone has complete confidence in its accuracy.
inRiver Enhances Your Product Storytelling Ability
With inRiver you remove the time-sucks that include searching for product data and seeking ongoing approvals for content. Now your team can focus on telling the right story for each product—for each market or channel and for each customer touchpoint. Not only will you get your product to market faster, but also your product messaging will be more compelling and your product information will be more complete. In fact, nearly 60% of shoppers indicated that having comprehensive product information is very important when shopping. An equal number are looking for product details that provide a “rich sense of the product.”
Why not have inRiver help you give them that?
Lindex, one of Europe’s leading affordable fashion chains, has created a competitive advantage through its management of product information, an advantage which has helped the company to enter new markets.
inRiver PIM has provided Lindex with a collaborative way to plan and handle content, campaigns, channels, and marketing activities, while providing a full overview of the work to be done. Staff know that products are always updated with the latest information, which activities are planned, when they are ready for release, and if the content has been translated or not—unifying product information for all channels.
As a result, Lindex marketers can spend more time on creating compelling stories and ensuring customers get the product experience they expect and the product information they need.
When you have the right system support in place, your marketing resources can do more in less time. They can focus on being more strategic and creative rather than taking care of low-end administrative tasks. Deploying a PIM system like inRiver means that you can get your products on shelves and out to the market sooner. You can sell sooner and longer, and generate more sales and profits.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Marketing Manager, inRiver
It is widely known and understood that prospects and customers begin their online product search on a search engine or on Amazon. In fact, according to a survey by PowerReviews 35% of customers begin their search on Google and 38% on Amazon.
Customers are looking for convenience when considering a purchase. Most prefer to search online rather than talking to one of your sales reps or walking into a store. Depending on the industry, as many as 80% of customers have researched their product purchase online before they even talk to you.
To take advantage of these growing customer habits, you must ensure that your products are findable through online search engines. Here are three tips to help make that happen.
When a prospect enters key words into the search field in Google or Amazon or another vendor site, how will they know that the best results will be presented? What can be very frustrating for the prospect, and a lost customer for you, is when no suitable results are presented. What the user will see will be the results crafted by the best search engine optimizers, pay-per-click managers, and feature advertisers. What the user is not necessarily seeing are the results that meet their needs.
We understand that search engine ranking is important, but consider this: What it you reallocated some of the resources spent on SEO or PPC advertising and used it for producing and displaying great content? What if you really let your products tell their stories? Not only would you be rewarded by Google’s website crawlers organically for having great content, but also your potential customers would find your products more easily and buy from you. In addition, as you review key word usage on your site, you will be able to more appropriately refine your key word selection through a feedback loop to reflect the words that your customers use to find products on your site. Read more on this topic.
Once a potential customer has found your site, you want them to be able to find suitable products within your assortment quickly and easily. By setting up a great taxonomy within inRiver, your products and associated attributes will be organized and properly classified, assisting users in being able to efficiently search and filter for the SKU that best meets their needs.
Read more on taxonomy and how it benefits your downstream channels in this blog by our partner, Earley Information Science.
Product Up-sell and Cross-sell
One way your business adds value is by helping customers make informed purchasing decisions. This does not just apply to the way you promote single products ― it also applies to the way you cross-sell and up-sell.
When you have high-quality information—categorized and tagged appropriately—it is easy to show customers how to combine complementary products. You gain a competitive advantage and increase revenue because you give your customers an in-depth understanding of the product and guide them toward the ideal solution for their needs.
When you deploy inRiver Product Marketing Cloud, you are able to quickly and easily create product assortments and relationships—in the manner of a “look book” for retailers or “additional parts and services” for B2B vendors. Contact us for a demo!
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver